A Guide to Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss
Losing weight after pregnancy can be difficult. Half of the baby weight usually falls off around 6 weeks after giving birth, but the rest commonly takes a couple of months, depending on how much weight you put on.
Since you’re probably breastfeeding, it is extremely important not to go on some crash diet because your baby needs a healthy mother and all the nutrients you take in through food. Losing weight too fast can cause you to produce less milk, but up to a pound and a half per week is fast enough and will not affect the quality of your milk. Breastfeeding will surely help in the process of weight loss, but here are some other tips on how to lose that excess weight in a healthy way.
Eat regularly. Skipping meals will not help you lose weight, as it will slow down your metabolism. It will also make you weaker, and you won’t have enough energy for your baby. You can create a caloric deficit, and eat 500 calories less than you were eating before you started losing weight, but never go below your minimum number of calories, because then your body and baby will suffer. Check with your doctor how many calories you need to function while breastfeeding, and never go below that. Eating regularly, 5-6 smaller meals a day will improve your metabolism and help you lose weight fairly quickly, better than eating the same amount of food but in fewer meals.
Breakfast is the most important meal. Not eating breakfast also slows down your metabolism and strips you from the energy you need through the day. If you don’t have the habit of eating breakfast, develop it. This is really important, as it will decrease the hunger later on, it will energize you and you will be generally healthier.
Exercise. A balanced nutrition is the most important factor when it comes to weight loss, but in combination with exercise you will see results in no time. Only dieting can cause you to lose fat but muscle as well, while exercising helps maintain the muscles and get rid of the fat. Since you’ve had your baby quite recently, you shouldn’t lift anything heavy or overdo it with exercises. Speed walking is enough to get you sweating and your heart pumping, and you can also take your baby in a stroller with you, so you both get some air and activity.
Increase your liquid intake. Drinking water is extremely important, not only for weight loss but for making you feel good, hydrating your body and helping you flush out toxins out of your system. Water also helps you lose weight, and you should never drink less than 8 cups per day – more would be good. You don’t only have to drink water – freshly squeezed orange juice or lemonade is also fine, but limit your soda intake, and avoid drinking any juices or liquids that contain sugars and many calories, as they will not help you lose weight, quite the opposite.
Limit your intake of fatty foods. You like French fries? Fried food in general? Well, you may not believe it now, but once you try the same foods without much fat added, you will be surprised with how many unnecessary calories you have been eating. For example, you can make French fries without oil in a non stick pan with a lid, and they maybe even taste better than the ones fried in oil, but with fewer calories. If you want to lose weight, you should start choosing food options that are baked, grilled, roasted, cooked, but not fried in oil. Also, you should switch to non-fat or low-fat dairy instead of whole milk and full-fat cheeses and yogurt. This will also reduce your calorie intake throughout the day, and you won’t even notice how much less you’re eating.
Avoid candies, chocolates, sugars. Everyone has cravings once in a while, and in those moments you probably reach for your favorite sweet treat. But know that you’re not doing yourself a favor if you’re trying to lose weight. If you are craving something sweet, instead of sugary snacks choose fruits such as bananas, apples, oranges or berries which, besides being delicious, are also very healthy for you and won’t make you fat like chocolate would. Fruits are also good for your baby, as they contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamins, the nutrients important for the proper growth of your child.
Now you need the help of superfoods more than ever. As we already said, you and your baby need maximum nutrition, especially when you’re breastfeeding. Superfoods come in handy here as they are packed with all the right nutrients without any excess fat or calories. Besides the regular fruit and vegetable superfoods consider eating more fish, especially salmon, tuna and sardines, as they contain much needed omega-3 fatty acids that will do wonders for you, and for the development of your baby.